Bo Derek had very famously said, “Whoever said that money can’t buy happiness simply didn’t know where to go shopping.” No trip is complete without some retail therapy to soothe the soul, and a trip to Sri Lanka is no different. A country stocked with some of the most beautiful gems, local handicrafts, teas and Ayurvedic products – you’ll find something for every type of shopper in Sri Lanka.

Here is our list of the best shopping hubs in Sri Lanka for you to check out on your next trip! 

1. Odel Departmental Store, Colombo (High End)

This famous Sri Lankan retail brand has its own departmental store in Alexandra Place, Colombo and is a huge hit with locals and tourists alike. Located within a beautiful colonial building, Odel houses products from its own brand along with those from other global brands. The indoor section is stocked with shops selling Clothes (Women, Men and Kids), Accessories, Shoes, Perfumes, Books, Luggage and Souvenirs. You’ll find brands from Nike to Adidas to Mango in addition to local brands – making it a mix of high end as well as some budget shopping.

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Timings: 10 a.m. – 8 p.m. (daily)

2. Arcade Independence Square, Colombo (High End)

Another shopping mall housed inside a restored colonial building, this hub consists of many international brands to browse from, along with a really nice movie theatre on the top floor. Shopping here can prove to be a luxe affair owing to its wide array of expensive brands, but it’s worth a visit nonetheless. It also consists of a few eateries along with a lounge for you to unwind at, after a busy day shopping. Don’t forget to shop for some of the world famous Ceylon tea for back home from the t-lounge by Dilmah (Sri Lanka’s best tea) located on the ground floor too!

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Timings: 10 a.m. – 11 p.m. (daily)

3. Kandy City Center, Kandy (Budget to Mid-range)

The only shopping mall in Kandy, the Kandy City Center is a 5 storeyed shopping hub located at a short walk from the Kandy Lake and the Temple of Tooth. It boasts of some of the most known global as well as local brands and has a wide array of clothing, accessories, electronics and entertainment options available. The top floor also has a huge food court to satiate your hungry tummy after hours of shopping while the ground floor has ATMs in plenty, in case you go overboard with the shopping (which is highly possible).

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Timings: 9 a.m. – 9 p.m. (daily)

4. Barefoot, Colombo (Mid-range to High-End)

Think handmade artifacts, traditional paintings and beautiful handicrafts and pair them with top-notch quality. Barefoot souvenirs make for great gifts for friends back home and if you only have time to visit one place for shopping while in Sri Lanka, then let this be it. It also houses a beautiful cafe inside where you can indulge yourself in good teas, coffee and delicious food. 

It’s located pretty centrally on the streets of Colombo 03 and is easily accessible by the local tuk-tuks and taxis. 

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Timings: Mon – Sat: 10 a.m. – 7 p.m. Sunday 11 a.m. – 5 p.m.

5. Franciscan Sister’s Jam Room, Nuwara Eliya (Budget)

A beautiful little shop run by the nunnery in the hills of Nuwara Eliya, this is a great place to visit if you’re looking to shop for jams, pickles and chutneys. These delicious handmade goodies are made with love from locally produced materials like strawberries growing in kitchen gardens. They also have a collection of unique wines – strawberry, ginger and beetroot are just some of the variants you can find here. 🙂

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Timings: Mon – Sat: 8.30 a.m. – 6. p.m.

6. Paradise Road, Colombo (Budget to Mid-Range)

Situated in another old mansion, Paradise road is home to locally sourced crockery, handicrafts, artifacts, homeware and all sorts of antiques and souvenirs. Their hand painted black and white plates are particularly famous and something you simply won’t be able to resist buying. 

It’s located in the heart of Colombo near the Gangaramaya temple and can be easily accessed by local transport. 

7. Crescat Boulevard, Colombo (Budget)

Located right next to the Cinnamon Garden hotel, this mall is another good shopping hub if you’re looking to buy local brands. You’ll find shops selling everything from teas, clothes, shoes, linens and souvenirs inside and the selection of local brands available makes this a very budgeted shopping experience. You can also grab a quick bite at one of the eateries in the food court sitting on the ground floor, that provide a number of South Asian cuisines to choose from. 

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Timings: 10.30 a.m. – 11 p.m. (daily)

8. Liberty Plaza, Colombo (Mid-range)

By now, you must have realized that Colombo is bustling with shopping malls and this one’s another on the list. Situated in Colombo 03, Liberty Plaza is another shopping mall complete with apparel shops, a supermarket, food halls and souvenir stores. An added wing called the Uptown Kandy has some of the nicer shops and is better maintained. You can easily spend a few hours shopping and eating here given that it’s also a great option to escape the heat in the afternoon hours. 

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Timings: 10 a.m. – 9 p.m. (daily)

9. The Dutch Hospital Shopping Precinct, Galle (High-end)

A huge favorite among tourists, this one’s a hospital building converted into a pretty snazzy shopping mall. It’s lined with some high-end brands and jewelry stores like Cartier in addition to the tea and souvenir shops. 

What makes this place a favorite though, is the amazing sea view it offers during your shopping spree. The various lounges and restaurants within the precinct make for a perfect way to end your day while you catch the sunset at the beach and enjoy a few beers with fellow travelers. 

10. Saturday Good Market Event, Colombo (Budget to Mid-Range)

A big hit with the locals, the Saturday Good Market Event is a street market that comes to life every Saturday at the Colombo Racecourse. This market event features 70 to 90 pre-approved vendors selling fresh organic fruits and vegetables, natural food and snacks, ethical alternatives in fashion, toys, housewares, home and garden supplies along with spa and massage services. 

You can also witness a lot of street side live music performances along with an authentic massage while your kids keep busy with some of the games on site.

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Timings: 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. (daily)

11. Pettah Floating Market (Budget)

While not a floating market in the traditional sense, the Pettah Floating Market in Colombo is a decent shopping hub built on wooden bridges by a water body. It’s good for getting some shopping done while lazily strolling around the area. There are also some restaurants offering good food by the breezy lake for you to indulge in. 

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Timings: 8 a.m – 10 p.m. (daily)

12. Majestic City Central, Colombo (Budget)

Once the city’s most favorite shopping destination, Majestic City in Colombo has lost its footing when compared to its modern competitors, but still remains a good option for budget shopping. Located at a stone’s throw from Bambalapitiya Railway station, this mall houses affordable local brands selling apparel, accessories and souvenirs. The main attractions though are the food court and the cinema halls – with the food court often running out of space to sit during lunch and dinner time. 

So if you’re looking to grab some affordable souvenirs for back home but don’t want to stray too far from the city centre, then Majestic City in Colombo has your name written all over it!

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Timings: 9 a.m. – 9 p.m. (daily)

13. Jewel Arena, Colombo (Mid-range)

Sri Lanka is blessed with beautiful gem mines and a trip to Sri Lanka is incomplete without some precious gem shopping. While you can find some really good jewelry stores all over Sri Lanka, Jewel Arena in Colombo provides some of the best quality gems betraying craftsmanship! Located a short walk away from Viharamahadevi Park, this jewelry store sells beautiful and intricate pieces at some of the most affordable prices. 

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Timing: Mon – Sat: 10 a.m. – 7.30 p.m. Sun: 10 a.m – 5 p.m

14. Mackwoods Tea Center (Damro now), Nuwara Eliya (Budget)

More a tea plantation factory than a shopping hub, the Mackwoods Tea Center (now called Damro) offers a short factory tour explaining the tea making process at no cost. After the free tour, you’re ushered to the terrace overlooking the farm while they offer you a free cuppa in your choice of flavor, to sip on. 

Once you’re done admiring the view, you can move over to their tea shop selling various locally produced exotic teas and buy a few tubs for friends and family back home. They make for excellent gifts, promise! 

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Timings: 8.30 a.m. – 6.30 p.m. (daily)

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